Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When Softdrinks Lose Validity

So, I was in McDonalds for lunch yesterday and it was one of those ones where you fill your own drink (because it takes entirely too much effort for the McPloyee behind the counter to do it). I filled my drink up and sat down eat my McNuggets and read and didn’t give it another thought, until I went to get a refill on my way out. It was only then that I noticed this sign.


Now defines the word valid as such: 1. sound; just; well founded 2. producing the desired result; effective 3. having force, weight or cogency; authoritative 4. legally sound, effective or binding 5. logic so constructed that if the premesis are jointly asserted, the conclusion cannot be denied without contradiction 6. archaic. Robust; well; healthy

Fortunately, I knew the definition of the word valid before I looked it up though, so as I stood there at the soda fountain, I pondered what the sign was trying to tell me.

If I refilled my drink and left would my drink lose it’s reason? Would it stop producing the result of refreshing me? Would it lose it’s authority to refresh me? Would my drink become illegal?

Surely not! I didn’t think my Diet Coke was an existentialist soft drink. If I refilled it and walked outside, I was fairly certain it wasn’t going to say to me, “Al, why am I here?” And if it had, after pissing myself from freight, I would have simply said, “shut up and get in mah belly!”

I can’t imagine the physical properties of the drink changing so that it was no longer refreshing to me once outside the confines of the McDonalds and I know for a fact that it’s within my legal right to drink a soft drink in public.

Hmmm. And why is it that refills lose their validity after the duration of stay, but no such warning is given about prefills? Are prefills somehow able to counteract the effects that make refills invalid outside the premesis? I may be a smart guy, but I had to admit defeat in this case. A brighter mind than my own was needed in order to solve this conundrum, after all, I had just refilled my drink and intended to take it outside, the duration of my stay was at an end and I certainly didn’t want to be drinking an invalid Diet Coke out in public where it might harm myself or others.

So, I decided to go to the source of knowledge I frequently turn to when life’s greater mysteries have me stumped, to the sage of our time, the wisest of the wise. Of course, I’m talking about the shift manager at the McDonalds. I asked for her at the counter and the McPloyee fetched her for me.

I explained to her that I was worried about my drink. I had just refilled it when I noticed the sign that says it loses its validity when the duration of my stay was completed. My stay, tragically, was at an end though. I needed to get back to work. So, I asked her what would happen to the drink once I took it outside. She said that I couldn’t do that. I asked why not? She said it was against the rules and pointed at the sign.

I told her that I didn’t see a rule, I saw a statement of fact and it was the fact about which I was inquiring. She insisted it was a rule though. So, I took a step back and asked her to explain to me about the change in validity of the drink outside of her beautiful restaurant (though I didn’t call it beautiful to her face because I thought that might be a bit condescending). She simply replied that I couldn’t take a refill outside, which did nothing to help me discover anything about the drink losing its validity.

I tried another tactic. I asked her if I hadn’t refilled my drink and I was still drinking my original drink, would that drink still be valid after the duration of my stay? She replied that it would be.

I followed up by asking why a prefill should have validity in the outside world but not a refill seeing as they have the same physical properties and all. At this point, I could tell she was getting a little agitated with me (it can’t be easy running such a glorious eating establishment, especially one in which the laws of physics and reason don’t always seem to apply). She told me that if I left with a refill that I would be stealing.

But I paid for the drink, I insisted! It came as a part of my Value Meal! Surely it could not be stolen if I paid for it! She told me though, that I paid for the original drink, the refill was stolen. So, I asked if all refills were stolen and she said that no, refills that were consumed while I was still on the premesis were okay.

So, I asked if it was only illegal for me to take my refill outside? YES, she exasperatedly replied. What happens to people who go outside with refills, I asked? And she told me that they call the police on them.

Finally, she asked me to leave when I responded by asking if the police had a machine that could check to see if the drink was a valid prefill or an invalid refill. I was a bit upset that she was upset with me for simply asking questions, but an even greater problem loomed. I was holding a refill that would become invalid and illegal the moment I walked out that door. I told her so.

She just pointed at the door and told me to take it with me. I’ll be honest, I was a bit scared. Here I was, about the cross the threshold of soft drink validity—whatever that might be with an apparently stolen softdrink! And to make matters worse, there was a cop car in the drive thru line! I was doomed! But the big, mean lady with four inch long hot pink nails said I had to go and she had told me to take the drink with me!

I have to tell you, I just don’t get as much exercise as I used to, but as the saying goes, I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once, as I ever was. Well it’s true! I’m not fast anymore, but I was FAST yesterday. Usain Bolt couldn’t have kept up with me as I scampered to the car, fired her up and peeled out of there. I didn’t want there to be any injuries to innocent bystanders when my drink lost it’s validity and I definitely didn’t want to be arrested by the cop in the drive thru for Grand Theft Soft Drink!

My heart raced! I was sweating like crazy. I gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles and drove like Matt Damon in a Bourne movie (which is to say that I hit like 7 cars but always fortuitously bounced away to safety). I made it back to work in record time. It appreared I had evaded the police! I was in the clear!!!

Only one thing remained. Regardless of the potential outcome, I had to test the validity of my stolen drink. I knew that the consequences could be disasterous. The sign’s warning was clear, but my insatiable hunger for knowledge would not be assuaged. I braced myself, took a breath, put the straw to my lips and I sucked.

I gave it a moment. I wanted to by hypersensitive to any change that may have occurred in the drinks validity, but after my harrowing flight from the authorities, I was panting and thirsty and the first thing I noticed was that my invalid drink was really, really, really refreshing! If I have to be honest, it seemed even more valid now that the duration of my stay at McDonalds had come to an end. When I was there, sure it was nice to wash down a stray bit of McNugget with my drink, but now…now I was parched from my escape and the bubbly goodness of the drink felt SOOOOOO GOOOOD going down my throat!

It turned out that the drink wasn’t invalid at all! Those McDonalds people must have been lying to me! It sure as hell produced the desired result when I sipped it! First, I was panting and parched and now I wasn’t! Woo hoo!

So, my friends, the moral of the story is this: Never trust the validity of a sign hung on a soda fountain at McDonalds. I’ve decided that those people aren’t as smart as we all give them credit for being!

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